Winter news from Zermatt: snow and (gourmet) adventures
Expansive pistes and a breath-taking view of the Matterhorn - snow sports don’t get much better than this. Combine Zermatt’s top-notch skiing with cosy restaurants, with or without Michelin stars and GaultMillau points, and you are on to something exciting, a discovery tour courtesy of Zermatt’s winter news.
“Once Zermatt, always Zermatt!”, says Michael who has been a regular guest in the Matterhorn village for years. The first time, he was dragged along by friends. “That’s a long time ago, I have been coming back every year, and each time I make a point of going on a discovery tour”, he says enthusiastically, waving his ski cap and disappearing in the direction of the restaurant.
The ultimate ski region
Today, Michael was already on the piste. The widely travelled visitor is a good judge who appreciates the breath-taking panorama. “Ski regions all over the world are more or less the same”, he says, “but the vista you get in Zermatt is absolutely unique.” Snow sport enthusiasts have 360 km of pistes to choose from, 200 km in Switzerland and 160 km in Italy. This winter, Zermatt offers even faster transport on the Sunnegga funicular starting at the valley station at the foot of the Rothorn skiing area. Modern displays in the long tunnel inform skiers of local snow and weather conditions.
Michael, a social media aficionado, is getting his money’s worth. He, and everybody else so inclined, can have their personal skiing style recorded on film. At the photo point in the Sandiger Boden (2,786 m) skiing area, the 800 m racing track starts at the Swisscom hut. Two cameras film your every move. The cameras are activated by your personal ski pass. Seconds later, the ski movie can be retrieved free of charge at skiline.cc. And then? Like so many others, Michael is busy tweeting and posting. The set-up at the Fotopoints on Trockener Steg (2,939 m) and on Rothorn (3,102 m) is similar.
Michael, of course, knows all about it. Getting all enthusiastic, he suggests: “How about a First Track?“ When asked what else he knows about Zermatt, Michael advises: “If you have any friends from China, send them to Zermatt.“ They can take skiing lessons in Chinese. Ni hao! He leaves us with an insider tip: “If you’re in a hurry to reach the skiing area, take an Air Zermatt flight from Sion.“
Zermatt – a culinary stronghold
This winter, Zermatt has surpassed itself where the quality of its culinary offerings is concerned: The After Seven restaurant at the Backstage Hotel has received its first star from the popular Guide Michelin restaurant guide. Head chef Ivo Adam of the Seven Group, which also manages the “Seven” in Ascona, Ticino, is spending his second winter in Zermatt, cooking up culinary highlights. The migrant bird plans to come back to Zermatt in many winters to come. On top of this, both the Heimberg and Le Capri have been awarded a Michelin star for their excellent fare.
Zermatt also boasts the largest number of GaultMillau points in a single village. With 21 restaurants with a combined total of 293 points, guests are spoilt for choice. However, with all this variety in the village, visitors should not lose sight of the top-notch mountain restaurants. Over 50 mountain restaurant are scattered alongside the attractive pistes of the Zermatt ski region. Two of them, Chez Vrony and Findlerhof, both located in the Findeln hamlet at an altitude of approx. 2,300 m, are currently taking off on Swiss Air flights. This winter, Business and First Class passengers can enjoy their special dishes on all long-haul flights. Those who require sustenance at the peak of the Matterhorn glacier paradise can stop at the newly refurbished restaurant.
Top-class hotel and chalet world
A new star in Zermatt‘s hotel universe, Hotel Fleurs de Zermatt has opened its gates. A bed of roses makes for peaceful sleep. The Grand Hotel Zermatterhof has refurbished many of its rooms and made them more spacious. The coach horses haven’t missed out and have received a new stable. The Hotel Cervo has added new suites to its range of accommodation and the Hotel Astoria has installed a new spa. Local artist Heinz Julen has opened the Backstage Luxury Chalet in Zermatt village. Mountain Exposure is also expanding and has launched its new Chalet Ibron.
Get caught up in the excitement
Here’s a wonderful surprise for all Free Ski followers and friends of the crazy Freeride world. The Swatch Skiers Cup is coming to Zermatt for a second time, from 4 to 10 January 2014. You can share the excitement and watch team Americas and team Europe fight it out, either at the Village in Bahnhofstrasse or close to the action at Furgg. Aside from spectator Michael, you have a chance to see JP Auclair, Julien Regnier and Sverre Liliequist, whose avalanche backflip caused a frenzy on Youtube last year.
Every two years, the super tough come to Zermatt for the Patrouille des Glaciers. This year, they will compete in the team ski mountaineering race from 29 April to 3 May 2014. The course record is held by Zermatt resident Martin Anthamatten.
Sheep pen or shopping?
The Julen family is big on family traditions, one of which is sheep rearing. Guests paying a visit to the sheep pen to see the cuddly balls of wool will not be disappointed, while those who prefer shopping will enjoy the new brand stores, among them Mykita spectacles, Odlo fashion and the Bayard Shop which offers ski equipment at the Rothorn valley station.